English lang and lit coursework: The Bell Jar. Watch

anna_42
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What NON-FICTION text could I compare The Bell Jar to? The book deals with issues of mental health and, briefly, feminism. I have read Girl, Interrupted but I think I would struggle to write an interesting essay as it is too similar to The Bell Jar. I was considering The Feminine Mystique, but feminism is quite a minor theme in The Bell Jar. Any suggestions?
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Parker Tracy
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Ok, so I think you are probably looking at comparing your chosen novel with a memoir, rather than a clinical text. The reason being, this is English coursework, rather than a psychology project.

Off the top of my head, you could look at:

Elizabeth Wurtzel "Prozac Nation" - a different time period, but essential the same terrain - in Wurtzel's memoir you have some of the plot points covered in Plath's novel - pressure of college, dysfunctional parental relationships, first sexual encounter etc.

A different (and perhaps less predictable angle) is a comparison to Mary Karr's memoirs (there are 3 of them - "The Liar's Club" about her abusive childhood, "Cherry" her teenage and early adulthood, and "Lit" about how the chickens come home to roost and she has to face what happened to her, as she has become an alcoholic). All Of Mary Karr's work is very raw. You could pick one of these volumes, and there would be plenty to contrast with Plath's work.

Third option, again, which could be an interesting one, is the memoir by Kathryn Harrison called "the kiss" which details the incestuous affair she had with her father. This is again, quite troubling terrain, but you get a first person account of being under extreme psychological pressure, you have (self evidently) dysfunctional relationships, and Harrison's dysfunctional relationship with herself.

I hope this is helpful. All of these are non-fiction and all three memoirists are best sellers.
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anna_42
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Thanks, this is really helpful!! 😁 I have read samples of Prozac Nation which seems really interesting, but i will check out all the memoirs you have mentioned. Thank you!
(Original post by LiyoS)
Ok, so I think you are probably looking at comparing your chosen novel with a memoir, rather than a clinical text. The reason being, this is English coursework, rather than a psychology project.

Off the top of my head, you could look at:

Elizabeth Wurtzel "Prozac Nation" - a different time period, but essential the same terrain - in Wurtzel's memoir you have some of the plot points covered in Plath's novel - pressure of college, dysfunctional parental relationships, first sexual encounter etc.

A different (and perhaps less predictable angle) is a comparison to Mary Karr's memoirs (there are 3 of them - "The Liar's Club" about her abusive childhood, "Cherry" her teenage and early adulthood, and "Lit" about how the chickens come home to roost and she has to face what happened to her, as she has become an alcoholic). All Of Mary Karr's work is very raw. You could pick one of these volumes, and there would be plenty to contrast with Plath's work.

Third option, again, which could be an interesting one, is the memoir by Kathryn Harrison called "the kiss" which details the incestuous affair she had with her father. This is again, quite troubling terrain, but you get a first person account of being under extreme psychological pressure, you have (self evidently) dysfunctional relationships, and Harrison's dysfunctional relationship with herself.

I hope this is helpful. All of these are non-fiction and all three memoirists are best sellers.
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